Markham was founded in 1791 as a township by General John Graves Simcoe (first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada), and was named after William Markham (then Archbishop of York in England). But the true father of the city is one William Moll Berczy, an artist/developer from Germany who, after a failed attempt at settlement in New York State, led a party of 64 German families to the site in 1794. Soon after, a host of other fledgling communities like Buttonville , Unionville , Cedar Grove , and German Mills sprang up along the township’s streams and rivers and the area became known as a centre for saw, grist and woollen milling. The arrival of a railway in 1871 initially provided a means to transport goods produced in Markham south to the large market of Toronto, but it wasn’t long until the process began to work in reverse and by the turn of the century most of the local manufacturers could not compete with the large companies shipping goods back north. Eventually the railway (and later the highways) became a means to transport Markhamites to their new jobs in Toronto – thus beginning Markham’s role as a commuter suburb. A century later in 1971 the township of Markham merged into one large town of approximately 50,000. Today the population has quadrupled and is projected to continue growing at a rapid pace.